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W/C 04.10.21 August Bicycles Workshop Update: Brass bits and bobs, Bespoked and birthdays

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

Well, we asked and you answered...morning blogs it is. It was a 60/40 split however, so we might start posting a story later in the day for anyone that misses the morning announcement. Sorry in advance for duplicate stories guys!

It's been a weird week. Good and bad, happy and sad and just plain odd at times. We assume that's just the joys of depression (which is kicking up just a little now the days are darker, colder and wetter!). So, what have we actually been filling our time with?

First off, as we said last week, the balance bike we built for Nico Sclater was finished up and sent and wouldn't you just know that he painted that little whip in record time, to present to his youngster on her first birthday. Now, we're biased of course and think we got the cutest daughter in the world, but Lola gives our bub a run for her money. Especially when she's stood up, appreciating her first bicycle! Happy birthday little Lola. Hopefully we can all shred together one day!

We've been asked A LOT about Bespoked this week. From general enquiries about will we be there to more in-depth questions about why it's not what it used to be. We can't really comment on the latter, because we don't organise it or have anything to do with it, but we can open up about the first. We don't do any shows, not least Bespoked. It's an expensive weekend that wouldn't be any fun for our daughter, plus we don't need to put extra miles on our van and honestly? We've never really benefitted from doing it. We've won awards and had some magazine features (in which we've worn inappropriate t-shirts from Pink Bike Ralph), but have these translated into commissions? Not generally! The only real upside for us has been meeting some of you that we've built wheels and stems etc for and catching up with distant friends but we're getting good at staying in touch now regardless, so we don't need a weekend in a shitty Travelodge to do that! We miss the gossip sometimes but we're 40+ now and it isn’t that interesting! (ie. We get much better goss from good friends inside the industry every week...)

Of course, there would be a few exceptions to the no shows rule. NAHBS would be a giggle, especially so we could actually hug a few people in real life. Rob English, Tom Porter, Casey Sussman... you'd all be feeling real weird after a group huddle.

There must have been something in the water this week because the wheel orders are coming in thick and fast, as are frame confirmations, stem commissions and a host of other fun enquiries. A huge thank you to everyone that has been getting in touch, it's been a very busy admin week (which Mrs A has obviously LOVED, hahaha) and it's always nice to hear from people who have wanted something for a while and finally decided to treat themselves. Although this does bring us to a funny exchange we had recently...

We're a custom workshop. Nothing we do is comparable to Halfords' prices, and we like to get to know people a little, which is why when someone started talking about a new bike, having gotten to know them and knowing their home situation, we asked them to pause and really think about if now was the right time. We know this is a fucking awful business model and what we should be doing is just taking the deposits and not caring about anything else, but we can't. Sorry. We've seen a lot of silliness in the past and we just think that if we can build you something amazing while keeping you honest and solvent, that's a triple-win. So if you've had a new baby, only just started recovering from a crash, got a redundancy package to blow etc, please don't be offended if we ask you to take just a few extra days to be sure about a commission. It's because we actually give a fuck. Oh, and if anyone ever asks us to falsify an invoice again (you know who you are! Mrs A adores you but won't ever do it again sir!), so you can pull the wool over a partner's eyes...don't be shocked if said other half gets a copy of the real invoice in their inbox. It's 2021, so how about a little honesty and ownership?

It's been a fun week for tampers too. We made a swish little vintage Dura Ace number that shipped off to New York this week and we have a pair of matching rears turned and ready to go too. We will pop them in the shop today or you can DM on Instagram too. As always, machining to your portafilter size is no problem and doesn't cost anything extra. Thanks to everyone that buys our tampers. We know we aren’t the first to create them and we certainly aren't the only people making them in the UK, but every order puts a little dosh in our daughter's savings account because we assume she'll want a silly old car or something when she's older and she isn't having any of our MK1 VWs. Sorry bubba!

We also machined up some brass top caps. This was actually just for a giggle, because novelty caps seem to be THE thing everyone is bringing out right now, but you all liked them! As we said, ours are all individually machined, by hand, because we don't have a snazzy CNC machine (although we'd very much like one). I popped out to the workshop last night and left Mrs A to endure a hellish bedtime to whip up a few more, literally just to use up some material and as a creative outlet. These will be in the shop today too. Yes, they come with a bolt. No, they don't have snazzy packaging, unless you like homemade envelopes. And they definitely don’t have any catchy slogans on them, so if you like geometric shapes and craftsmanship only...these might make a lovely stocking filler or treat for yourself.

Oooooh. We've got some Christmas ideas up our sleeves too. Watch this space.

Finally, a quick note about shopping small and local. We always try to support local where we can because it's beneficial for everyone. BUT. We've been let down so many times by people in Norfolk that keeping the faith is incredibly hard. From painters to sewists and everything in between, we don’t know if we expect too much (we are willing to pay commensurately, FYI) or what, but it's always a struggle. Apart from our favourite little Post Office, our laser cutters and our CNC-machinist buddy.

It's a happy little 15-mile roundtrip to drop off at our Post Office of choice, where all the people inside the shop are lovely, friendly, SO helpful and always take the time to have a chat and the local noticeboard makes for hilarious reading every time. The ride out and good-natured natter is always a highlight of the week, so thank you everyone at Barnham Broom!

Oh. Before we forget, it was Boo Boo's birthday this week. Happy 12th year to our favourite little smell machine with thighs like gammons and breath like sewage. We love you so much pup and you'll always be our first born.

Rad peeps of the week:

  • All of our Buy Me A Coffee supporters. we wonder if you truly realise what an amazing surprise it is every time we get a coffee bought. Honestly, there's a shocked conversation each time!

  • Everyone who suggested Couch25K. Mrs A is on it, loving it and already planning some long distance runs in her future. I believe she's even invested in...a gilet.

  • Everyone taking the time to get in touch and tell us they love their 'Enablers'. You dirty bunch!

  • The lovely chap on Instagram that is sending over a hub for tamper conversion just because he doesn't need it. We wish you'd accept something in return!

  • Cy Culpin, who is ready to smash his charity half-marathon run.

  • And once more for everyone who is asking if they will see us in Yorkshire this weekend....

See you next week and have a great time if you do attend a show! Remember to actually commission the builders you admire though. Don't just go to have a lookey-loo and pinch ideas for your kitchen-builder-part-time-mate to rip off. We ALLLLLLL see you posting about it on LFGSS.

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